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The prevalence of malnutrition and impact on patient outcomes among older adults presenting at an Irish emergency department: a secondary analysis of the OPTI-MEND trial

journal contribution
posted on 2021-01-12, 01:13 authored by Anne Griffin, Aoife O'Neill, Margaret O'Connor, Damien Ryan, Audrey TierneyAudrey Tierney, Rose Galvin
Abstract Background Malnutrition is common among older adults and is associated with adverse outcomes but remains undiagnosed on healthcare admissions. Older adults use emergency departments (EDs) more than any other age group. This study aimed to determine the prevalence and factors associated with malnutrition on admission and with adverse outcomes post-admission among older adults attending an Irish ED. Methods Secondary analysis of data collected from a randomised controlled trial exploring the impact of a dedicated team of health and social care professionals on the care of older adults in the ED. Nutritional status was determined using the Mini Nutritional Assessment- short form. Patient parameters and outcomes included health related quality of life, functional ability, risk of adverse health outcomes, frailty, hospital admissions, falls history and clinical outcomes at index visit, 30-day and 6-month follow up. Aggregate anonymised participant data linked from index visit to 30-days and 6-month follow-up were used for statistical analysis. Results Among 353 older adults (mean age 79.6 years (SD = 7.0); 59.2% (n = 209) female) the prevalence of malnutrition was 7.6% (n = 27) and ‘risk of malnutrition’ was 28% (n = 99). At baseline, those who were malnourished had poorer quality of life scores, functional ability, were more frail, more likely to have been hospitalised or had a fall recently, had longer waiting times and were more likely to be discharged home from the ED than those who had normal nutrition status. At 30-days, those who were malnourished were more likely to have reported another hospital admission, a nursing home admission, reduced quality of life and functional decline than older adults who had normal nutrition status at the baseline ED visit. Differences between the MNA SF and 6-month outcomes were similar but not statistically significant. Conclusion Over one-third of older adults admitted to an Irish ED are either malnourished or at risk of malnourishment. Malnutrition was associated with a longer stay in the ED, functional decline, poorer quality of life, increased risk of hospital admissions and a greater likelihood of admission to a nursing home at 30 days. Trial registration Protocol registered in, ID: NCT03739515, first posted November 13, 2018.


The OPTI-MEND study is supported by the Health Research Board of Ireland through the Research Collaborative for Quality and Patient Safety (RCQPS) 2017. The sponsor is not involved in the design of the study and collection, analysis, interpretation of data, or in writing the manuscript.


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ARTN 455







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The Author reserves all moral rights over the deposited text and must be credited if any re-use occurs. Documents deposited in OPAL are the Open Access versions of outputs published elsewhere. Changes resulting from the publishing process may therefore not be reflected in this document. The final published version may be obtained via the publisher’s DOI. Please note that additional copyright and access restrictions may apply to the published version.

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